Productivity Tips We’ve Learned From Remote Work

Productivity Tips We’ve Learned From Remote Work

The year 2020 made many of us bring our work home – including me when I joined the 9 Clouds team. The rest of my coworkers have enjoyed the option of remote work as a benefit for a while, so we have varying expertise on the office-to-home adjustment process.

Now, we have compiled a list of what practices best helps everyone stay productive.

Here are some remote work tips that have helped our team work better from home.

Degrees of Separation

“If you have other people at home with you (roommates, a spouse, children, etc.) have a signal. . . It tells the person you’re busy and to wait unless it’s an emergency.”

Brittany, Digital Strategist

Separate Your Space

This will look different for different situations.

For some, a separate room (or basement) is best for productivity. Others find flat surfaces in kitchens or corners of their living room to work from. All are acceptable! Just try to have an area you can call yours — one that lets your brain know it’s ready to work.

Set your boundaries.

If you’re not alone while working from home, make sure everyone is aware of your work hours and when you’re busy.

From the team: “Have a signal, whether it’s a specific set of headphones you only use, a light you turn on, a ribbon or bookmark, or something you put on the back of your computer or the door to your room/office. It tells the person you’re busy.” – Brittany, Digital Strategist

Remember to personalize.

Put up some photos, light a candle you like, or just add some sort of personal touch to your area. Whatever you want to liven it up and create a more inviting atmosphere.

From the team: “I listen to music with my headphones, have certain lights on and burn certain candles when I’m working to separate the work and non-work time.” – Sarah, CEO

“I like to use time blocks on my calendar to keep from bleeding time into another. Lunch is lunch. . . work time is work time.”

Catherine, Account Coordinator / Digital Strategist

Separate Your Time

Set consistent work hours.

When working from home, having the freedom to be a bit more fluid with your operating hours is a perk. Just be careful with irregular hours.

Time management is a skill that you must practice. Try starting and ending your day consistently by setting regular work hours. This will help focus your brain and make it much easier to get yourself into a work mindset.

From the Team: “I like to use time blocks on my calendar to keep from bleeding time into another. Lunch is lunch, after hours is after hours, work time is work time.” – Catherine, Account Coordinator / Digital Strategist

Take breaks.

Remember: You have permission to move around at home.

Step away from the screen for a second if your brain is yelling for a break. All aspects of your work have suddenly been condensed into one, maybe two screens. Prevent overloading your own system by taking meaningful breaks.

From the team: “Personally, I’ve found screen breaks to be really important. With everything being on my computer, it’s easy to not take any breaks and give my eyes and brain a rest.” – Jenny, Account Management Director

Ease into work with “commute” time.

Many morning commute times were cut to seconds, with many of us now only moving from one room to another. What can you do with all that extra time you used to spend driving?

Think about how you spent your driving time: Did you listen to a podcast? Music? Did you take time to prepare for the day mentally, possibly making lists in your head as you drove?

Work that into your routine! Before and after hours, take the time to listen to that podcast, your favorite songs, or list out your day.

Just because your miles were cut doesn’t mean those little routines have to stop. You’re not confined to a car anymore either. Walk around the block or enjoy this routine from your favorite spot on the couch.

“Our team has been using Slack for several years now. . . The ability to subscribe to or mute certain channels has allowed me to remain productive but also connect with the team.”

John, Creative Director

Separate; Don’t Isolate

These barriers and degrees of separation you’re encouraged to create are not meant to transfer over to your communication style. Communication doesn’t depend on location anymore. Remember to keep in touch with your team.

Be open with your work needs.

Stay in touch with your team about your work and your needs.

Asking a quick question to the worker next to you at the office was a convenience. Needing to type out every little question is something I am still getting used to but is very important to do.

Don’t hesitate to ask about a work question you have or clarification you need. You will save time in the long run by asking sooner rather than later.

Have separate communication channels.

Here at 9 Clouds, we use Slack as our main communication channel. While I found it intimidating at first, I can’t imagine getting to know my teammates online any other way.

While we have channels designated for work, we also have channels for #inspiration, #winning, and even a channel for showing off our dogs.

From the Team: “Our team has been using Slack for several years now, but it was especially valuable during 2020. The ability to subscribe to or mute certain channels has allowed me to remain productive but also connect with the team around specific topics — some serious, some not. We have everything from our channel for fans of The Office (called #perfectenschlag) and our channel for #book-club, along with more serious work-related channels for each client.” – John Nelson, Creative Director

Work from Home, Better

So there you have it — some productivity tips from our own Work From Home (WFH) team. Working from home can be more comfortable and enjoyable without needing to be a mess of distractions. Separating your time and space without separating yourself from the team can make working remotely so much easier.

We have plenty more information on this. We’ve had the time to practice. Learn more about the best tools we’ve found for working remotely.

See Our Favorite Remote Work Tools